The Gospel Demands Radical Giving to the Poor – David Platt

The night before I left for Uganda I asked folks what sermons I should bring with me to listen. Specifically, I asked for sermons that changed peoples lives. One brother tweeted that I listen to the Radical series by David Platt. I asked him if there was one in particular. He said, “go for the jugular” and listen to ‘Radical Giving.’ I posted the sermon below. It is one of the most powerful, biblical, challenging, and convicting sermons I have heard – in general, and on this issue.

Proximity Equals Responsibility

I have recently been thinking about the old saying – “proximity equals responsibility”?

You know…’If you live among the poor you have the responsibility for caring for the poor or if you work with someone who is going through a hard time you have responsibility to encourage them.’ Where we live and work and do life bears great weight on what and who we are responsible to care for. 

This has all been causing me to think about the plight of orphans around the world and how for the majority of us they are far outside our proximity. And being out of proximity means they easily fall outside of our sense of responsibility. 

I can’t help but think that the responsibility for caring for these millions of children cannot fall solely on those who live near them. Most of them can barely care for themselves as they live in rampant poverty. 

The responsibility must be upon those who may not necessarily have proximity to them but the means to help. Maybe we need to add alongside our original principle – “Prosperity equals responsibility.” The more we have been given, the more responsibility we have to care for those without and in need increases. 

On top of the means to help is the explicit and implicit Biblical call to help. We have many texts that clearly call us to care for the fatherless (Ex 22:22, Deut 24:17, Deut 26:12, Psalm 10:18, etc) and the very expression of God being “the father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5) calls us to be the same. As His people, purchased by the blood of His son and adopted into His family we are called to care for the things He cares for and hate the things He hates.    

All that said, are we in the West really that far removed from the plight of the orphans? How many of us get online daily to check the latest scores on the big game or to check email? How many of us have cable TV? How many of us have cell phones with internet access everywhere we go? All this media daily streams information, images, and video from around the world. We may need to search for it and intentionally plan to subscribe to certain feeds and sites but they are there. Never in the history of the world have we had such intimate access to those living thousands of miles away. In light of this there is a real sense in which our proximity is truly as far as our computer, our television, our email, or our phone is to us.

I want to encourage everyone reading this (including myself!) to make some sort of interaction with the orphans of the world a part of your daily life. 

  • Watch a video a day.
  • Read a news story a day.
  • Read a blog post a day.

Live in proximity to the orphans of the world and follow God’s leading in how you will be responsible for caring for them. Who knows what God might do!

“Enough is as good as a feast”

The Salwen family of Atlanta, Georgia, has decided to sell this house and give half the proceeds to charity.You may have seen this story of the wealthy family in Atlanta that is selling their $1.8 million mansion and giving half the proceeds to charity. It has brought up a lot of good (and frustrating) discussion about how much wealth is really needed and what we can do to make a difference.

This story and Todd’s recent post has challenged me think more seriously about what is “enough” for my family and what that means for us. I am made freshly aware that I am prone to move towards comfort instead of need and my soul needs these regular reminders and stirrings. I have also been thinking about this in light of God’s heart for His people and the poor. It is something that I keep running into in the Word and if there’s anyone in the world that ought to be concerned and broken over the injustice that exists it is God’s people made in His image and specifically called to action.

I can’t help but wonder what this would mean for the poor in our community and around the world if we were take this seriously? I mean, if we really got to a place where “enough” truly was a “feast” to us we would be free to make a difference in a radical way.

The good news to us who are in Christ is that He alone is enough! It has less to do with material things than I tend to think it does and our culture tells us it does. Wow. That is radical.

The richest of all is the one who knows that in Christ he has all the treasures and supplies he needs.